The Elder Scrolls is known first and foremost as a franchise that knows how to tell a story, or way more accurately, stories. Each game has quest after quest, story after story, some intertwined, some sitting squarely on their own. Each adding depth and colour to vast, open worlds.
Every instalment of the Elder Scrolls universe is a rich tapestry of story and narrative, especially the lore rich world of Elder Scrolls Online. I am driven to seek out every secret, uncover every tidbit of lore and story and track down every quest to learn even the tiniest bit more about the world.
It is this amazing story building that drives me to get my writing to the best point it can be. As a creative writer, prospective journalist and future game designer, the Elder Scrolls is one of the pinnacles of inspiration because no detail is too small.
You have the overarching magical/fantastical disasters that threaten the whole world, the whole universe even, things that should consume most of your attention but care is given to innumerable other characters in the game. Characters with their own problems that seem insignificant from afar but are actually incredibly vital to that character. Having a cow wander off, or not having enough alchemical herbs for a potion may not seem like much compared to Alduin, the World-Eater annihilating existence but it is, at that moment, the whole world of those characters.
While hunting for Mudcrab meat isn’t particularly glorious it adds layers to the story and creates a rich tapestry for the player to explore. Not to mention that the mundane and the incredible usually synergise with each other in video game stories, especially in the Elder Scrolls. One of the first missions you may encounter in Skyrim is a hunt to reclaim a stolen Golden Claw from a nearby tomb. Sounds simple enough and progresses relatively smoothly until you discover the giant puzzle door that you must solve using the claw. This manifests in a big way through the discovery that there are a lot of gemstone claws and puzzle doors hiding Nordic treasure throughout Skyrim.
You see when I was growing up, writing short stories I was always focused on one or two main protagonists. They go through their struggles and have their brand of plain moments but ultimately they were badasses. But you need to have unremarkable characters, characters who by all intents and purposes, are normal, to balance out the mind-bending fantastical elements that permeate the world.
So much happens in the Elder Scrolls universe that is of a supernatural nature, that in other worlds would be considered a highlight, but which is merely a passing fancy. Staring down Dwarven Colossi or battling Dragons and stealing their souls becomes just another day at the office.
That is what I strive for, to craft stories, worlds, universes where amazing and wondrous things happen all the time, to everyone. Whether it is collecting a Golden Claw or taking out troublesome bandits, the Elder Scrolls inspires me to add magic to everything, add a little spark of the unknowable or a path to something bigger in each small story. Every character of the Elder Scrolls is, in my mother’s words, a legend in their own lunchbox, and that serves to add personality to the world in the biggest way.
The Elder Scrolls remains one of my biggest gaming inspirations to date.